A bubble column can be operated using countercurrent flow including perforated trays. The space-time yield of gas-liquid reactions can be considerably increased if the perforated trays have a substantially uniform distribution of holes, if the cross-sectional area of the individual holes is 0.003 to 3 mm
, particularly 0.01 to 0.5 mm
, and if the open area of the trays is 3 to 20%, particularly 3 to 10%, and if the bubble column comprises passages for liquid between adjacent liquid zones.
The bubble column can be used for carrying out gas-liquid reactions, such as oxidation reactions with air, with the gas and liquid preferably being passed in countercurrent flow through the column. Cocurrent flow may also be used.